Battlestar Galactica

"Occupation" / "Precipice"

4 stars

Air date: 10/6/2006
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

In the first two seasons of Battlestar Galactica, we had subplots that took place on "Cylon-occupied Caprica." But it wasn't much of an occupation, because most of those who would've been occupied had already been exterminated. So far as I could tell, the occupation was a few isolated pockets of resistance, mainly Anders and his crew of freedom fighters. If there were other survivors on the Colonies — and I would assume that there were — they were not depicted on screen. We didn't see much of what actually went on.

Now we have "Occupation" and "Precipice," a two-hour premiere to the third season of BSG that should've been given one title for the sake of simplicity (why not simply "Occupation" parts 1 and 2?) — and because that's what this show is really about: a harsh Cylon occupation and its grim results.

"Occupation/Precipice" is a powerful and absorbing two hours of television. If I had my doubts about the way "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2" left massive gaps in the narrative with its one-year leap forward, those doubts have been assuaged here. "Occupation/Precipice" works even better than it otherwise might've because the situation feels new and unfamiliar; any security blanket we had with any formula that BSG was settling into during the latter half of the second season has been yanked away. Part of the fascination is in seeing where all the characters are now. Let's put it this way: They are not in a good place.

This premiere is dark, violent, and wonderfully complex. It asks hard questions that different people in the audience are going to respond to in different ways. When you can play devil's advocate and both justify and condemn the motivations behind so many of the characters' actions, you know the story is working on an intellectual level. When you find yourself riveted to the screen and leaning forward at what you see, you know the story is working on a visceral level. This episode clearly works on both.

Let's start with Colonel Tigh. The episode begins in his holding cell following endless weeks of imprisonment, questioning, and torture. (They even ripped out his eye and showed it to him: "Looked like a hard-boiled egg," he later muses.) Cylon Cavil taunts him over the hash marks he scratches onto the wall to count the days. Tigh is one of the key leaders of the resistance to the human occupation, which the Cylons are attempting to put down with intelligence gathered from prisoner abuse.

Tigh is released early in the episode as part of a deal that involves his wife Ellen (unbeknownst to Tigh) having sex with a copy of Cavil. Although it's no secret that Ellen has slept around in the past, her actions here are a case of mercenary prostitution with noble intentions: she's trying to protect her husband. But the question becomes: At what point are you a collaborator? Let's face it: Ellen's behavior would be construed by most patriots as sickening, and yet it's one of the episode's perfect examples of someone taking desperate action because they are backed into a corner.

Hers isn't the only such situation. Once Tigh is released and rejoins the insurgency (Tyrol and Anders are the other key resistance leaders), we realize just how bad things have gotten under Cylon occupation. It's been four months since the events of "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2," and Cylon occupation is going over about as well as the German occupation of much of Europe in World War II. For that matter, there are certain superficial parallels one could draw with the U.S. occupation of Iraq — although it should be said that Ron Moore's script never attempts to turn this into some sort of politicized statement. This is an episode about occupations in general, and a heartless Cylon occupation in particular.

One of the key aspects of the story surrounds the New Caprica police force that the Cylons have put together out of human beings who are generally regarded by the other humans to be traitors to their race. Our entry point into this aspect of the story is through Jammer (the character, not yours truly), who signed up because he hoped he could do the Cylons' dirty work in a way that would be less dirty. His recruitment into the police force happened in "The Resistance," the online episodes that were released prior to this episode's airing. I must admit: Despite my qualms with the narrative choppiness of those mini-installments, they shed some light onto Jammer's plight here.

They also shed more light onto the actions of Duck, who has also joined the police force, but for very different reasons: He's an infiltrator working for the resistance. In a powerful and disquieting sequence, Duck straps explosives to his body and blows himself up along with a room full of humans and Cylons at a graduation ceremony for new police officers. Dozens are killed. (I was uncertain how Jammer survived unscratched, since he appeared to be just feet away from the explosion.) Later, a woman blows herself up to take out as many Cylons as possible.

These suicide-bombing scenes have a swift and brutal ferocity that is disturbingly real. They demonstrate the kinds of atrocities that become possible in war. Some scenes in "Occupation/Precipice" are impossible to watch without thinking of current-day conflicts. Yet the episode has no political agenda whatsoever, unless there's an agenda in pointing out that atrocities happen during wartime, and that those atrocities might be, you know, wrong.

The episode's central argument revolves around Colonel Tigh. He has no problem with suicide bombings if it means distracting the Cylons long enough for Adama to plan a rescue op. Tyrol has his reservations: "There are some thing you just don't do, Colonel. Not even in war." There's a scene where Roslin tells Tigh that the suicide bombings must be stopped at once. His dismissive and yet well-thought-out response to Roslin is some sort of grizzled veteran's prose masterpiece. Here's a guy who has been tortured and damaged, and when he talks he seems to make perfect sense and to have gone off the deep end at the same time. There's also a telling scene where Baltar demands Roslin to look him in the eye and say that she can defend the suicide bombings as justifiable. She can't.

What this episode is about is finding moral ground upon which its human characters can stand. Can they do that and still fight for survival? That's been a question on this series for a long time, but it becomes even more urgent here, where the Cylons have the entire population contained under the constant threat of force.

Aside from this question, "Occupation/Precipice" does a hell of a job reestablishing all the characters and picking up their storylines, reboot style. Kara has been held by Leoben for four months, where they have been in a long series of battles in a stalemated war of patience. Her jail cell has the disguise of an apartment unit of routine domesticity, and Leoben is waiting for Kara to cave in and realize that she can love him. The tone is set when she stabs him in the neck and then calmly goes back to eating her steak. This is someone's twisted version of hell, and somehow a macabre humor finds its way to the surface.

Leoben finally plays his trump card by bringing in a small girl named Kacey, whom he claims is Kara's daughter (see "The Farm" for the sordid details). The implications of this scene are intriguing, but also must be treated with a high dose of skepticism, since the Cylons are known masters of manipulation.

Meanwhile, Baltar's presidency has become a puppet administration of the Cylons. Gaeta serves as chief of staff, but not happily, and he's the secret source feeding information to the resistance. To say Baltar is in way over his head would be an understatement. Make no mistake: He's as miserable as everyone else on this rock, if for different reasons (mostly because he has to live with himself). I fully expect him to be shot on sight by the resistance. (Indeed, one of Tigh's plans had Baltar as the target of a suicide bombing.) Colonial One is not a happy place. It's filled with Cylons who force Baltar into impossible corners. At one point, they demand he sign an order of execution for suspected insurgents, who are to be rounded up and shot. Watching Baltar is like watching a train wreck: It's so damned fascinating, and horrifying.

Somehow, despite everything, I feel sorry for Baltar. His failures stem from weakness and selfishness, not maliciousness. I've said it before: You'd feel really sorry for this guy if his actions didn't land everyone else in just as much or more trouble than himself. The Cylons aren't happy about the whole occupation situation, either. They're at odds with how to deal with humanity. There's a dramatically intense moment where Doral holds a gun to Baltar's head and screams at him to sign the death warrants. When Six tries to defuse the situation, Doral shoots her in the head. What can Baltar do? He signs the warrant. After all, he's not going to take a bullet. That would be beyond his abilities.

Meanwhile, Cavil orders Ellen to betray the resistance or lose her husband, which leads to an agonizing scene where trusts are violated while stakes are unbearably high: She steals a map outlining the rendezvous point of the resistance with the Galactica's scouts; she doesn't even realize the true scope of her betrayal.

Back aboard the Galactica, the plans have been developing for the past four months. Adama conducts training drills for a return to New Caprica to rescue the survivors. One point of unexpected humor is the notion that Lee has really let himself go since the settlement on New Caprica. He's packed on the pounds, and both Adama and Dualla (confirmed here as Lee's wife) accuse him of having lost his edge. Adama calls Lee on the carpet for the ineffectiveness of the Pegasus crew, and demands that he whip them into shape. The capper is: "I want you to turn around and get your fat ass out of here." The scene is both funny and startling. Funny to see Lee turned soft, but startling to see Adama so angry that he raises his voice.

Lee thinks Adama's plan to rescue the survivors is borderline suicide, and he might be right. There's a nice philosophical argument where Lee says to his father that he owes it to humanity not to make such a high-risk gamble, because the consequences of losing are too high to contemplate. Adama's response is one of simplicity, and it doesn't even try to argue using logic. He simply can't leave all those people behind to the Cylons because "I can't live with it."

The way Adama's plan brings Sharon into the picture is also of much interest. He restores her flight status and gives her the mission to infiltrate the Cylon base on New Caprica and obtain the launch codes to unlock the ships on the surface so they can escape. Adama's basically taking a leap of faith based on trust. It's not an unreasonable one under the circumstances (they've developed an understanding over the past 16 months), and yet I can't shake the feeling that with Sharon there's always another shoe waiting to drop — perhaps another program lying dormant to supply her with another directive.

Frankly, "Occupation/Precipice" sets up so many pieces that it seems like half the season could be turned into a New Caprica occupation arc. Could such a storyline maintain the momentum that this episode seems to promise?

Previous episode: The Resistance (webisodes)
Next episode: Exodus, Part 1

Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.

◄ Season Index

36 comments on this post

Mon, Sep 24, 2007, 11:20pm (UTC -6)
There's some parallels to be drawn here with A Time to Stand/Rocks and Shoals. Both were excellent debuts to the season, and subsequent episodes felt lackluster in comparison.
Fri, Apr 11, 2008, 10:58pm (UTC -6)
I think this may be the best episode of the series.

Previously I thought it was Pegasus, and before that Kobol's Last Gleaming. High hopes for next year, but it might be hard to overcome this episode. Not even Crossroads, which I think is on par with KLG and Pegasus, threatens this episode's position at the top.

But then again, the 4th season brings the series finale, so this may indeed be overtaken.
Sun, Aug 3, 2008, 3:24pm (UTC -6)
Does anyone know if Lee gained weight for the role, or did the role fit around his real-life weight gain?
Tue, Aug 5, 2008, 10:03am (UTC -6)
The weight gain was an illusion done with prosthetics, padding, and probably body doubles. The actor did not gain the weight.
Tue, Aug 5, 2008, 2:09pm (UTC -6)
Well I'll be damned.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 6:55am (UTC -6)
No mention of the opening montage? It was such a haunting sequence, wreaking of despair. Really set the scene.

These guys are good.
Alexey Bogatiryov
Fri, Mar 20, 2009, 8:21pm (UTC -6)
This episode was probably the most realistic one on BSG. I really liked how the writers made the viewers uncomfortable by putting our heroes into the shoes of terrorist in Iraq - powerful stuff.

This resulted in the BSG cast being invited to the UN:
Tue, Feb 22, 2011, 10:43am (UTC -6)
This is my 3rd time running through the series, as I do every spring, and each time I'm consistently amazed at the depth of character, music, cinematography and writing.

As someone who has long wished for Ron Moore to reboot Star Trek, I don't know how he could without completely reinventing it.

It's amazing to think that the beginning of BSG ran concurrent with Enterprise. One show was a network staple (or at least the franchise was) and had the full financial weight of Paramount behind it, and the other was a cable show based on an obsolete one-season wonder in the 70's.

And yet to compare the two, visually, intelligently, musically, etc -- it would be a no-contest: BSG blows Star Trek out of the water.

In short: I don't think the Trek-only fans could handle what an unfettered Ron Moore would bring to the Franchise.
Thu, Mar 3, 2011, 4:49pm (UTC -6)
Actually, he doesn't restore Sharon's flight status. The Sharon aboard Battlestar Galactica never had her flight status, she came aboard with the refugees from Caprica. The original Sharon, the one who slept with Chief Tyrol, was downloaded back to Caprica.
Nick P.
Fri, May 27, 2011, 8:03am (UTC -6)
I don't know if I agree that this was a 4 star. It was easy 3.5, but for some reason every scene with Adama or his new fat kid just drags the whole show to an absolute standstill. On top of that both actors acted way over the top (for them), and it really took me out of the episode.

That being said, ANY scene outside of those 2 was some of the best of the series. That scene with Balter signing the execution order was so well done you almost wish these guys could win an oscar. Even little touches, like how imaginary six showed up immediately after real six was killed. I love thinking how I would be acting in his place, and I would love to say "I wouldn't sign it, even if I was killed", but who short of Christ himself could honestly die for other with a gun at their head. I don't believe any crap like that. Every person on earth would sign that paper.

Also, the Baltar-Roslin scene was masterfully done, as was, surprisingly, Starbucks. As much as I still don't like her character (or maybe just the actress), I admit that her psersonal prison is perfect for her. She can't kill herslef, she can't kill her captor, she can't leave, yet they are not obviously mistreating her, it is just months of nothing. Which is exactly what would unrile this particular person. And than the kid. The best part of the way BSG is done, is that she so obviously knows she is being toyed with, yet she is still a human, and must care for the child. An absolute masterpiece!!

If Adama and Fat Albert weren't in this episode, it would have been the best of the series.
Tue, Jul 19, 2011, 8:31am (UTC -6)
These two episodes are presented seperately on the DVD sets, which explains the two tiles ("Occupation" ends with Duck's suicide bombing).

My main problem with this episode is that I don't understand the Cylon's motivations. I'd been waiting since the Miniseries to find out why the Cylons decided to attack the Colonies. Then we got "Downloaded", one of the best episods so far, that led me to believe the Cylons were ready to make peace. Now it seems they don't want peace, they just want to have complete control over the survivors of the holocaust. But why? What is their ultimate goal? I can't think of any goal that would be worth all this trouble.

There were a lot of riveting moments focusing on the human characters on New Caprica, but I couldn't get past the fact that none of it makes any sense.

All of the scenes on Galactica were great, though. Adama finally deciding to trust Sharon Agathon - something I've been waiting to happen for over a season now - is wonderfully emotional. In short, it's about time.
Sun, Aug 14, 2011, 5:46am (UTC -6)
This episode -- or really, the last half-hour of the Season 2 finale -- was when the wheels started coming off BSG. The series never really recovered from the New Caprica arc.

Nic has it right, that at this point the Cylons' motivations make no sense at all. Assuming what Cavil told our heroes in "Lay Down Your Burdens" was true -- and it must have been, as evidenced by the presence of Caprica Six and Boomer on New Caprica -- what is the point of all of this? It seemed that the Cylons really had made a breakthrough in recognizing the "error" of what they had done, even if their conclusions were self-serving; the occupation storyline negates all of that, and at this point the Cylons are subjugating the human race for no other apparent purpose than that the series, needing an ongoing villain, requires them to.

Boomer's presence as part of the occupation force is even more confounding. It's impossible to believe that this character, who totally retained her sense of self and her human beliefs and sympathies as of "Downloaded", would be a party to what the Cylons are doing on New Caprica, let alone have thought the whole thing up herself (as she and Six likely did). Of all the Cylons, she more than any other would have understood that the human race would never have accepted even a benevolent "partnership" with the toasters, let alone a bloody occupation that began with a contingent of Cylons (including Boomer herself) marching aboard Colonial One and telling Baltar "Don't resist and nobody will get hurt".

"Occupation/Precipice" has a great many wonderful scenes, but the entire episode -- indeed the entire series from this point on -- is undermined by the fundamental unbelievability of the Cylons' actions. For drama to be riveting, it has to first be logical.
Tue, Sep 27, 2011, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
in some ways I think Boomer is to the cylons as Baltar is to humans.

they both are pretty messed up characters, conflicted to their core, and their allegiances switch often, but eventually they both belong to their respective race (unlike Six who crossed over to helping humans).
Baltar does a lot of his decisions based on self preservation, but on occasion he has moments of altruism (or what he perceives as such, eg. when curing Roslin of cancer). Sharon, i think is based on bitterness (but she also wants to help out, like in downloaded and in the finale). yeah, she helped them during downloaded but she doesnt have any more connections to humanity, at least Six has her head Baltar to push her. Boomer is looking to belong somewhere.

(and later it is revealed that Cavil has been working her/trying to influence her. making her feel part of the Cylon community)
Sat, Nov 19, 2011, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
Dark. Despondent. Depressing.

* * *

"Look me in the eye and tell me that you approve of sending your men and women to crowded places with explosives strapped to their chests."

Of course, there is a GREAT deal of difference between those "crowded places" being a police station of an occupying force as opposed to a, say, nightclub, pizzeria, marketplace or hotel full of pensioners having a festive dinner. Somehow, suicide bombers in our world tend to pick the latter; almost never (and in some parts of the world EXACTLY never) the former.

I'm dying to find out what fate is eventually going to befall Baltar.

REALLY happy to see Galactica's Boomer treated better, although I'm not sure if she is or ever can be 100% trustworthy.
Wed, Apr 4, 2012, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
@dan at this point the Cylons are subjugating the human race for no other apparent purpose.

yes, and some would say that same of the U.S. occupation of Iraq after a point and history/current events will give you lots of other examples of an occupying force subjugating the native population for what eventually devolves into no good reason.

@dan: she [Boomer] more than any other would have understood that the human race would never have accepted even a benevolent "partnership" with the toasters.

I don't think the occupation was at all what Boomer and Caprica Six had in mind. But again, read your history books or pick up a paper. Boomer and Cap Six are one voice whose intentions or suggested intentions have been co-opted and mangled and misunderstood by the true powers that be. Boomer and Caprica Six have influence but not power.

The Cylons motivations? Twisted religious fervor. Try reading the news headlines on any given day.
Wed, Jul 18, 2012, 5:06pm (UTC -6)
In my opinion, "Occupation" & "Precipice" together formed BSG's finest two hours. Not even the "Miniseries" captured the feeling of desperation the humans were faced with on New Caprica, who are now without the protection of their military. But of course, the Adamas felt the pressure as well. With both battlestars at half-strength and sans their most notable soldiers, they were constantly crushed under the feeling that any rescue attempt would be destined to fail. In the end, that didn't stop Admiral Adama from trying and eventually succeeding, but the whole arc conveyed feelings of desperation and struggle unlike anything ever seen in science fiction.

My only complaint with the whole arc was Fat Lee. I think the writers should have just let subtlety and dialogue explain just how soft Lee had gotten. It makes me wonder if his overeating was part of the reason the fleet found itself on the verge of starvation in "The Passage."
Sat, Jul 21, 2012, 2:24am (UTC -6)
Naha has it right. The Cylon occupation makes plenty of sense. We were never told that the Cylon's were ready to be buddies with humans, only that Six and Boomer were able to convince the Cylon population that genocide had been a mistake. The Cylons ran with it but not in the benevolent form Six/Boomer might have wanted, and we see them struggle with that in the episode. The Cylon belief appears to be that, with enough time, they will be able to force the humans to accept their religious Dogma. It's an irrational belief, but quite plausible. I thought the Starbuck plotline was basically meant to be symbolic of the situation as a whole.

Fantastic episode. Riveting. This is BSG at it's best.
Tue, Nov 27, 2012, 9:07pm (UTC -6)
I was not a huge fan of the time jump at the end of Lay Down Your Burdens...too much was packed into that last 20 minutes to really be believable or have emotional impact for me. Mustache Adama, Fat Lee, Bearded Tyrol, and long-hair Starbuck really didn't help things made everything feel like a bizarro world parody of the show.

With that said, these episodes helped flesh out the new situation more, so it's becoming easier to swallow as time goes on. I just hope Lee goes on a diet soon...he was one of my favorite characters!
Sun, Dec 2, 2012, 10:54pm (UTC -6)
Jonathon, if you think Lee got fat too fast, wait 'til you see how he slims down!

Uh, spoiler alert.
Sat, Jan 5, 2013, 8:41pm (UTC -6)
Hands down the finest arc of the series. Every scene works perfectly, the atmosphere is palpable, and the music and cinematography take it over the top. It's so good that it makes me think we should have stayed with the occupation for a half season or so, there's so much to work with in the premise. Only BSG (or maybe Farscape) was bold enough to do something like this, and the result is a masterpiece of science fiction.

I respectfully disagree with the criticisms leveled against it. The Adama scenes are fantastic, showing Bill and Lee struggling with an impossible task and a terrible responsibility. Bill dismissing Lee alone is great.

The cylons seem to have a voting based decision making process, with seven voting blocks that typically vote unanimously. We know that the Doral, Cavil, Simon, Leoben and Deanna models were very hawkish, so the occupation was likely their idea, tempered by the new belief by the general cylon population that genocide was immoral. Occupation was likely thought to be a compromise, not that I expect the Sharon or Caprica Six models to have agreed with it. But, if it was happening anyways, I'm sure they would go to try to moderate things. And Caprica Six would go for Gaius, regardless.
Nebula Nox
Tue, May 28, 2013, 2:08pm (UTC -6)
"Nobody has been tortured for information!"

Any coincidence that Gaius Baltar and George Bush have the same initials?
Sat, Sep 28, 2013, 4:26am (UTC -6)
This is kind of petty perhaps, but the makeup on Lee's face looked off to me in this episode. Misshapen, I mean. Looked more like an infected tooth or the mumps rather than weight gain.
Wed, Jan 1, 2014, 5:36pm (UTC -6)
Wow!! I just finished this one minute ago and it is the best episode so far! So much going on. I was sitting there at the edge of my seat the whole time. My personal favorite moment was between Roslin and Tom Zarek. I loved that he took no part in the occupation. I hope it's not a setup. But damn this show is good. Time to start the next one...
Tue, Jan 7, 2014, 9:34am (UTC -6)
I am probably the only person who laughed at this joke. At the end of the credits they have the production company logo cartoon but with Ronald Moore and the other guy. At the end of this episode, they did a whole bit on the band The Cure. Made me chuckle
Thu, May 8, 2014, 4:02am (UTC -6)



“Which side are we on? We’re on the side of the demons, Chief. We’re evil men in the gardens of paradise sent by the forces of death to spread devastation and destruction wherever we go. I’m surprised you didn’t know that.”

That line takes on so much more weight if you already knew that everyone, including tigh, in the room at that time was one of the final five.
Mon, Apr 13, 2015, 11:58pm (UTC -6)
They could have run 40 minutes of dead air and Tigh's 2 speeches to Tyrol and Roslin about the bombings and it would have earned 3 stars.

The rest of the episode is icing on the cake.

4 stars.

No... I *still* don't feel sorry for Baltar. If there's anyone who deserves the occupation, it's him.... But it is entertaining to watch him squirm....
Fri, May 15, 2015, 1:24am (UTC -6)
The question you should be all asking is why the Cylons haven't wiped out Caprica. You see, the whole show makes no sense. It has no direction and it has no logic. It's just running on fumes and has been since Season 2.
Fri, May 15, 2015, 1:30am (UTC -6)
And if you're going to defend that with the "change of heart" the Cylons had - think again. That makes no sense either because here they are enslaving the humans.

It's like the writers were just rolling dice to decide the outcome of plot threads. 4 Stars? In your dreams.
Fri, Jun 24, 2016, 12:19am (UTC -6)
Watching this years later and reading the review makes me laugh. of COURSE it's about the Iraq occupation - it was doing what good SF does... holds up a mirror!
Sat, Nov 5, 2016, 9:43pm (UTC -6)
Hello Everyone!

As I re-watch this set of episodes, it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, in their own twisted way, the Cylons were trying to "help" the humans. They had stopped their war against them earlier, telling the humans to go their merry way, but now they find them again and the 6's and 8's want the Cylons to make amends. The problem is the Cylons have absolutely no idea how to do it. They muck it up from the start, with a great show of strength, then tell them not to fight back against their aid so no one will get hurt. If they wanted to destroy them, a single shot to the city would have done it.

I just think they were clueless about how to help. That isn't now they were born and bred. Astonished at resistance to hundreds of soldiers to keep everyone safe, they do the only thing they know, keep putting the pressure and control on, wondering without a clue why it isn't working...

I actually thought Baltar was ready to take a bullet, in polite opposition to what Jammer had written. He told imaginary 6 he just couldn't do it (sign the death order), and she told him to do it and fight another day. My thoughts were he was at the end of his rope and, in that moment, didn't care if he lived or died. It would have been very BSG if he'd ended up all over his desk, but he is such a wonderful anti-hero, I understand why they didn't do that. And his falling tears after signing the paper were very well done...

Enjoyed the scene with Zarek and Roslin side-by-side in their (execution) transport, and seeing Zarek pull Roslin back when the Cylons were about to fire. There have been a very few instances where being in the back of a crowd about to be machine-gunned led a wounding and feigning death. While Zarek has been shown to be mostly a scoundrel looking out for himself, he didn't stay with the government (as he could have) and almost looked a bit chivalrous here. I like it when folks are shown 3d and not 2d. That moment helped my perception of him.

This was the first episode of the reboot I'd ever seen, as my provider didn't have SciFy until season three. I was gobsmacked by these episodes. Of course I was somewhat clueless about some things, but figuring them out as they went along was pretty fun. I had no real idea who that grizzled person was, no matter what they called him. *That was TIGH?! That's his WIFE?!*. Heh, I figured Anders had Always been there until they had a marathon of the first two seasons. :D

Enjoy the day everyone... RT
Mon, Sep 4, 2017, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
I agree. Baltar's problem is that he is weak. I never, for one second, thought he was a traitor or deserved to be killed by the insurgents. That is why I never will understand why Saul et al ordered the hit, so to speak. Even Roslin herself says that the human government headed by Baltar is just one in appearance, so why would she, or anyone, think it ok to kill him like he had a choice. This line of reasoning goes on into his trial later on too.

These people are either incapable or unwilling to step back and look at the larger picture. Occupations by hostile forces, especially genocidal ones, are hard. They gnaw away at your morals, will to live, and they are dangerous. It becomes about pure survival at some point. Help or watch your family shot, or be tortured. As an occupied force you dont openly resist. That will just get you taken out back and shot.

Now I do have a rather ambiguous view toward collaborators. One thing to willingly collaborate in order to get a cushy life, quite something else to be held at gun point and told that if you dont do it, you will be eating the bullet. it is a grey area.

Ever seen the series "Colony"? [SPOILERS}Those people are essentially helping the aliens carry out the genocide of the human race. They are helping smooth out the murders in exchange for temporary comforts. The collaborators dont act like they are forced, held at gun point, they just collaborate and they do so willingly. There is only so many people the alien government can shoot before running out of people to do the groundwork so it is not like resistance would have bene futile.

But in Colony, the humans made it easy for the alien forces. In fact, they often outdid the aliens in terms of brutality against the humans they were put in charge of, even though they didnt really have to.

Anyway, I digress but my point is that those are the people who are rightful targets of insurgents cause they are willing participants. Torturing people with glee is not something the aliens made them do. [END SPOILERS]

Not so much here on BSG and Caprica Two. So Roslin asking that all those forced to help be killed was just another evidence of her shortsightedness.

At any rate. I dont think Baltar even wanted the job. He did it out of spite. Had Roslin not been such a dick to him, demanding him to resign and be so blatantly hostile toward him, the situation could have been placated and diffused. See, this is the problem with Roslin, she has no finesse and very little diplomatic skills. She wants it done and she wants it her way and anyone who objects can go "frack" themselves. That is not how you handle people, especially in politics.
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 7:28am (UTC -6)
I don't understand why the suicide bombing went ahead. The guy who lost his wife (can't recall his name) could see that Baltar wasn't there, so why did he go ahead with it? The plan was to kill Baltar after all.
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 10:48pm (UTC -6)
Looking back: interesting how all these people used to spit at Zarek from their high horse for being a terrorist and now they do it themselves. So it is not terrorism they opposed, it is the cause, which of course makes them giant hypocrites.

Also, saying that guy Doug or whatever volunteered was disingenuous at best. They took a grieving, hurt and vulnerable man and preyed on his vulnerability to manipulate him into setting tearing himself to pieces for *their* political cause. That really was one of the biggest moral lows even for these people. Also, didn't Roslyn just ban abortions cause "every human life counts"? So how about what they just did? Again, it only counts when it suits her agenda. And what is her plan anyway? To keep blowing them up until the last human? Isn't she then doing the cylon's job for them?

Dualla saying to Lee she married him cause he reminded her of Adama was gross. I will never understand the pairing of Lee and Dualla.
Sat, Dec 31, 2022, 4:32pm (UTC -6)

I couldn't agree more with Dan's comment (above)!

1. Cylon motivation

The last 2 episodes of Season 2 plus this one achieve something very rare: a DOUBLE Deus Ex Machina. Everything is absurdly contrived... to the point where I think I see what the original intent was (more on this in a second).

On (old) Caprica, the Cylons close in on Anders' resistance forces. Having raided them 'just that morning' and killed half, they're chasing them into the woods. We learn later on that Cavil is a spy among them, meaning they have zero chance of hiding. Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the final battle starts just as the BSG rescue party makes contact. The Cylons have an UNBELIEVABLE chance to crush humanity... but the Hand of God intervenes because... the Cylons listen to Six and Eight and decide (off camera) that the human genocide was a mistake. The motivation is summed up as "The Cylons realized they were trying to replace humanity rather than being their own thing, ie machines seeking enlightenment."

Fine. The cease fire is conveniently timed, but can be thought of as part of the divine plan... Head Six is already foreshadowing her divine nature, and we are introduced to Head Baltar with Hera sort of waiting in the shadows for her own time to shine.

But then, a year later, the Cylons return... Why? The explanation they give makes ZERO sense. They've agreed to go their separate ways. What happened to the Cylon enlightenment? By returning, they are admitting that they NEED humanity at some level. However, all explanations happen off camera... as they must, because they suffer from basic illogic.

It would not have been that hard for Leoben, say, to explain that the Cylons want to understand love. Six and Eight have experienced it, and the rest want to, etc. Instead the Cylons turn into stereotypical jailors / occupying forces? What the fuck??!

Why would Cylons care AT ALL what humanity does, so long as there is no military threat? But instead for plot purposes they decide to reject Six and Eight's message... again, off camera as a Deus Ex Machina because this action CANNOT be resolved logically. Everything actually returns to square one: There's humanity with traitors in their midst, and one-dimensional Cylon villains.

So what the actual fuck?

IMO the initial idea for season 2 / Old Caprica was an invasion/resistance plotline featuring Anders and his crew. It makes a lot of sense to milk Anders and show a ground based conflict, then wrap it up with an evacuation and a flight back into space.

For some mystifying reason, probably due to having few ideas for season 3, they decided to pad it out, destroying logic or basic common sense, to give all the bit-part actors like Ellen Tigh and Chief Tyrol the chance to go full thespian.
Tue, Feb 28, 2023, 8:20pm (UTC -6)
Was this ever gritty, the way it was filmed almost in black & white (the yellow dog's bowl stood out) really paints a powerful picture of an occupation and its insurrection movement -- the difficulty of the situation. Kept thinking that perhaps the Cardassian occupation of Bajor would be similar and "A Time to Stand" also crossed my mind with Kara's situation like Kira's in a way. But there were some shortcomings for me that held the episode back slightly.

So, to understand the Cylons occupation -- the Dean Stockwell model seems to be in charge, wanting to bring about the word of God and it seems some/more humans are starting to come around but the Cylons want to take more drastic action. They think of killing Baltar -- and so does Tigh in the insurrection movement. Just think the Cylons are pretty misguided here -- if some of them know human emotion, shouldn't they understand that a sizeable portion of humans cannot be enslaved?

And as for the humans killing Cylons when possible -- the Cylons just keep coming back. But killing Cylons still gives humans hope? Wonder if it was ever possible to negotiate something...

Kara's situation was particularly poignant. She gives the impression of being a shell of her former self but the fight is still there -- really well portrayed by Sackhoff. She's a bit of a sociopath now -- kills the Cylon who wants her to love him and then has dinner...

I feel the conflict between Lee and Adama is forced. Like why has Lee become such a fat ass and soft? Marriage? I think this is out of character for him. And how does Bamber do this to his body?? Clever camera work and prosthetics?

There's a good scene with Adama and Sharon now being his only friend and she talks about forgiving herself and that Adama should do similarly.

3 stars for "Occupation" -- interesting to see how all the humans are in their own little hell but the Cylons don't really know how to best achieve their goals. The passage of 1 year makes things feel a bit rushed and how people are in their current situations felt a bit arbitrary. Overall very well acted and mostly well written.
Wed, Mar 1, 2023, 7:54pm (UTC -6)
I can appreciate the nature of the story being told here but it is brutal and very dark -- definitely not like classic Trek. Good deal of plot complexity as the chess pieces move on the board but thinking about what the Cylons want to accomplish -- some kind of co-existence with the humans -- they've just completely blown it.

On the one hand the Cylons want to absolve their consciences for rounding up and killing humans as "stronger measures" are voted for. Yet they put a gun to Baltar's head to make him sign the order... So they're full of shit when it comes to morals (no surprise).

Some powerful examples of how people are manipulated -- like Ellen Tigh by the Dean Stockwell Cylon, Kara develops feelings for some baby she's told she's the mother of after the baby is "injured", and Jammer not wanting Tyrol to know he's sort of a collaborator. All interesting to watch in various ways -- though it's not feel-good stuff.

As for Col. Tigh continuing with the suicide bombings -- have to wonder how long this would go on for if there was no hope of contact with Adama's fleet. He's arguably suffered the most from the detention / torture -- I like how Michael Hogan plays a totally battle-hardened bad ass insurgency leader.

The stakes are played up with Lee telling Adama that humanity stops if they lose ... But I didn't think it was such a big deal to use Sharon as liaison but Lee loses his shit about it. I don't like how he's being written so far in S3 (in addition to being a fat ass now).

Ends with a pretty good way to do a cliffhanger with Cally running for her life while the Cylon robots start shooting at those rounded up for execution (who were told they could stretch their legs). Where this is in relation to where Sharon's team meets the insurgence led by Anders is unclear, but it would seem to be in the same vicinity.

3.5 stars for "Precipice" -- benefits from the setup of "Occupation" and ramps things up. It's riveting to watch but also somewhat tough to watch. Definitely thought-provoking with the different attempts at gaining dominion over the humans.

Submit a comment

I agree to the terms of use

◄ Season Index

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2023 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. Terms of use.